A Few Lessons From Nepal

I’ve been back from Nepal for a month now.  As it was my second trip it’s been easier to re-enter the ‘normal’ life.  The differences between my house in the USA and the house I stayed at in Kathmandu are still substantial, but I knew what to expect the second time and there’s less shock.  I love returning to a place I’ve visited previously and finding I still have more to learn.  I know, it should be obvious, but it’s always startling nonetheless.

A few lessons I learned from Nepal that you may be able to relate to:

  • Get up at 6am. That’s around the time the sun was coming up and I very much enjoyed the days I got up that early.  The hard part was flying back up to 47 degrees North and trying the same thing.  I’m close to my old time (6:30am most days) but would like to make it a bit earlier.
  • Expect things to go awry. I mean, cummon, it’s Nepal.  They just had their Prime Minister stand down, for heaven’s sake.  Nothing, and I do mean nothing, happened when it was planned.  Some things happened as they were planned, but never when.  Not even close.  And I just had to roll with it.  That’s one lesson from travel, roll with it if you have no control at all.
  • Spend time journaling. I didn’t do enough of this.  I didn’t leave myself much time or a good time.  Thinking I would wait until the night to capture the day stank.  I was tired, especially while climbing.  And I was disinterested.  When I did journal the mornings worked best because, for me, it filtered out the cruft from the day before.  When I journal at night I tend to include more, but that doesn’t make it any more worthwhile.  In the morning I can reflect just a bit and the feeling is different.
  • Spend time reading. One thing I did have plenty of time for, and felt like doing, was reading.  But I didn’t bring any books so I was at the mercy of what was lying around.  I would have preferred something of a history of the land or the people, but I had a book on American English instead.  Interesting and it passed the time, but didn’t seem to fit.
  • Eat breakfast. I know, it sounds simple.  But I sometimes skip while I’m at home.  Breakfast was always appreciated on the trail and in the city and made the heat or cold easier to deal with.
  • Enjoy tea. This is one thing I still do at home.  Tea and the simple enjoyment of sipping it slowly while getting ready for the day, helps set the tone.  In teahouses it provided a link from the last location to the present.  Most of the tea tasted the same (I’m not very discerning) and it gave continuity to the trail.  In camp too, it helped me know the day really was starting.  It’s hard to slink back to bed after tea with caffeine in it.
  • Be gracious. Before leaving for Nepal I offered to record some video for a couple of Sherpa friends in Washington and one in Oregon.  They both had family still there and I thought they might like to see them.  And they were on my way.  But I wasn’t ready for just how happy those in Nepal would be and how gracious they were.  I should already know, I know.  But it still amazes me.  Humbles me.  And is a good mirror to hold up.  I was being told thank you over and over again in Nepali and Tibetan from a number of people.  And all I thought I was doing was a simple video.  What I received was a lesson in humility and being grateful for those who help us through life.

And for now, those are some of my notes.  More will follow because for such a smallish country, there sure is a lot to learn from Nepal.

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